A former Angels great (semi-great? really good?) gave a retirement press conference yesterday. It was classy, it was funny, it was Torii. See the entire thing here. Say what you will about the man's politics--and there have been many things said, especially on this very website--but Torii played the game with heart, hustle and extraordinary talent. All in all, throughout nineteen seasons in MLB, he put up a .277/.331/.461 slash line, with 2,452 hits and 353 dingers. He also played some pretty solid defense. My favorite thing about Hunter was the transition he made after being move to the two-spot in the lineup. That kind of willingness to change one's way of thinking, one's way of doing things, even after years of success doing it another way...well, that's pretty special.
To Freese Or Not To Freese: According to Jeff Fletcher at the Orange County Register, the Angels' front office is mulling the decision to extend a qualifying offer to David Freese. I think they'd be absolutely stupid not to. There's no way Freese accepts, as he's pretty much the only free agent third baseman on the market.
Tyler? I Hardly Knew Her: Tyler Skaggs is ready to pitch next season. And he knows he's got his work cut out for him.That being said, I'd be shocked if he didn't make the Opening Day rotation.
Sounds Good To Me: Some website called baseballessential.com put together the 2016 Los Angeles Angels Wish List. There's not a whole lot we haven't already discussed, but I really, really like no. 1 on the list. Splitting up Pujols and Trout? Yes, please. Oh, and putting a lefty bat in between 'em? Sure, that's good too. But let's definitely split them up.
Elsewhere in Baseball
Joe Blanton? Sliders? Say It Ain't So: Fangraphs takes a look at how Joe Blanton transformed himself from middling starter to middle relief ace. Hint: It has to do with throwing more sliders. Methinks Joe needs to apologize to Butch for calling him worse than a Little League coach that one time.*
*May not have actually happened.
A Swing And Aramis: Some other dude is retiring too. Aramis Something-or-other. David Freese is probably happy; that's one less free agent at the hot corner this offseason.
Good Ol' Jer Jer: Jerry Dipoto started the offseason off right by agreeing to a three-for-three trade with the Rays. The Rays get INF Brad Miller, 1B Logan Morrison and RHP Danny Farquhar, while the M's get RHP Nate Karns, LHP C.J. Riefenhauser and OF Boog Powell. So, the M's rotation just got (potentially) better with the acquisition of Karns, and their lineup got a lot less douche-y with the subtraction of Logan Morrison.
Worth It...Maybe: LF Alex Gordon has already declined his player option AND the qualifying offer extended him by the Kansas City Royals. Is he worth the loss of a draft pick? The Fangraphs crowd seems to think he'll get 5 years/$90M, but is he worth that amount of money?
Rockwell Would Be Proud: Ever get the feeling that somebody's watching you? Well, if you're an opposing batter, chances are the catcher is.
Yeah, That Was Bad: We saw the worst called ball of the season yesterday. Now, it's time for the worst called strike.Yeah, not a good luck, Blue.
I Am Ben Zobrist: Take the "Which Royal Are You?" quiz over at mlb.com. Or don't. I don't really care. But you'll be shocked to find out who Eric Hosmer is! Or not. I don't really care.
This Date In Baseball History: 1950 - After departing the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey signs on to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates as Executive Vice President and General Manager. That doesn't work out so well as the Pirates go 269-501 with Rickey in command..........1976 - Bullpen ace Bill Campbell becomes one of the first players to cash in on the Free Agent mega-money bonanza, signing with the Red Sox for the then-princely sum of $1,000,000 over four years..........2001 - Major League owners grant Commissioner Bud Selig the authority to contract baseball by 2 teams. The targets of this ploy are the Twins (who are trying to be gifted a new stadium), the Expos (who are trying to vacate Montreal) and the Marlins (who are also trying to be gifted a new ballpark). Considering Selig's history with expansion teams, this is particularly rich. This is all in the middle of the shenanigans likely going on between Jeffrey Loria and Bud Selig to move the Expos to Washington DC, wherein Loria would end up selling the Expos to Selig (MLB) and buying the Marlins from John Henry, allowing Henry to buy his home town Red Sox (Henry having moved from OC to Connecticut in 1989). Just for fun, here is Selig being quoted in 2002 as saying that contraction for the Twins was a real possibility, and here is Selig saying in 2010 that contraction for the Twins was a myth all along. In between those dates, yeah, the Twins got gifted their new stadium.........2006 - Saginaw Michigan resident Charles Littleton refuses to remove his Dodgers cap at a city hall meeting, and gets tasered for it..........2007 - MLB General Managers vote to allow "limited" use of instant replay..........